Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a proclamation Tuesday naming Virginia swimmer and Florida native Emma Weyant the "rightful winner" of the NCAA Championship's 500-yard freestyle, one week after she finished second to Penn's Lia Thomas, a transgender woman who is biologically male.
Weyant would have won the national title in the event if not for NCAA rules that allow biological males who identify as female to compete following one year of hormone suppression. Thomas swam for the Penn men's team for three years.
"By allowing men to compete in women's sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud," DeSantis, a Republican, said in a tweet. "In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota's Emma Weyant as the best women's swimmer in the 500y freestyle."
By allowing men to compete in women's sports, the NCAA is destroying opportunities for women, making a mockery of its championships, and perpetuating a fraud.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 22, 2022
In Florida, we reject these lies and recognize Sarasota's Emma Weyant as the best women's swimmer in the 500y freestyle. pic.twitter.com/tBmFxFE3q6
Thomas became the first transgender individual to win a championship in the history of the NCAA.
DeSantis' proclamation notes that Weyant is a native of Sarasota and was a high school All-American at Riverview High School. It also references her winning a silver medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
"Emma Weyant competed in the 500-yard freestyle race at the Division 1 Women's Swimming and Diving Championships, logging the fastest time among all women swimmers," the proclamation reads. ".... [A] male identifying as a woman was allowed to compete in and was declared the winner of the race by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Emma was determined to have come in second place."
The proclamation asserts that the NCAA's rules "serve to erode opportunities for women athletes and perpetuate a fraud against women athletes as well as the public at large."
"Florida rejects the NCAA's efforts to destroy women's athletics, disapproves of the NCAA elevating ideology over biology, and takes offense at the NCAA trying to make others complicit in a lie."
It notes that DeSantis signed into law the Fairness in Women's Sports Act, which prohibits biological males from competing in female sports.
"It is my determination that men should not be competing against women such as Emma Weyant, robbing women and girls of achievements, awards, and scholarships," the proclamation says. "Now, therefore, since she is a native Floridian from Sarasota, I, Ron DeSantis, Governor of the State of Florida, do hereby declare in Florida that Emma Weyant is the rightful winner of the 2022 NCAA Division 1 Women's 500-yard Freestyle, congratulate her on yet another significant achievement, and express pride that she is a Florida resident."
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Lia Thomas Wins Women's NCAA Title, 2 Years after Competing as a Man
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joe Raedle/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.